Thinking time – are you doing enough of it? Getting into the habit of thinking about your thinking is going to be one of the most important things you do to round out the year.
Practising reflection time isn’t just going to benefit you this year though, even though it has been an extraordinary one.
Reflective thinking is important for business owners all throughout the year, at any time, pandemic or not.
It’s all about the habit of granting yourself time to think thoughts all the way through to the end.
How many times have you had a passing thought fly by as you work, but feel too busy to think about it?
We often brush it off with a, “Oh, I’ll deal with that later.” But then, most times we never do.
That’s why this week’s PPMP podcast centres around this idea of reflective thinking.
Whether it’s thoughts about the stresses of life, or a certain event that happened at work, we all need time to stop and think.
And I mean really stop and think.
With the tonnage of data on our radars 24/7, is it even remotely reasonable to expect ourselves to process everything that’s going on around us?
Rather than letting things take over your mind, you have the choice to take charge. You have the authority to take time for reflection.
Getting into the habit of thinking about your thinking gives you the power to contain overwhelm, close loops, and bring closure to certain events.
In this Episode you’ll find out the benefits of reflective thinking, its many elements, how it will support your business and team, and more.
For now, let’s look at a rundown:
What is Reflective Thinking?
Reflect, reflection, reflective…what do these words really mean?
Well, reflective thinking has a “review” nature to it.
It has a sense of past tense and it’s the opportunity to look into the rearview mirror of your business. You’re essentially thinking back on something that has already happened.
Getting into the habit of thinking about your thinking brings consciousness to something – a question or event that has already occurred.
You’re giving yourself permission to explore this past even further, teaching yourself and confirming what you already know.
It’s different to critical thinking (which I’ll get into another time, so stay tuned) which I tend to think of as more future-focused.
Reflective practice is about looking back and giving yourself permission to relearn things that we may not have identified when the event took place.
Consuming Information with a Conscious Mind
How do you process online multimedia information?
Are you strict with what comes up on your feed? Or do you enjoy getting lost in the depths of each video or article that pops up?
Defining the tonnage of information out there is challenging given the volume of noise at our fingertips.
For me, I choose to consciously engage with information using a certain lens.
In the Episode, you’ll hear how I deal with information with a wide-angled lens, visually mapping all those high-level headlines to revisit at some point.
The zoom lens is for honing in on a particular author, Facebook group, journalist, etc. That’s where I go micro and take a deep dive on certain topics.
Would you consider being more conscious with the information you consume online?
Setting a Specific Time
Perhaps at this point you’re thinking, “Well, who’s got time for this, anyway?”
Personally, I find the early-bird mornings to fit in best with my schedule.
One of the best ways to get into the habit of reflective thinking is by scheduling it into your diary ahead of time. That way, it won’t get in the way of other parts of your business.
In order to make something a habit, you must create a supportive environment.
It’s not about finding a whole 50 minutes every single morning. Instead, look at reflective thinking time as something that happens little and often.
Knock out any distractions. Invest in a beautiful notebook or gorgeous pen that will motivate you to take that time to reflect.
You might have a favourite chair to sit in. You may like to sit outside. Perhaps you’d even like to do it while out on a walk.
You’ll hear about the countless ways to bring reflective thinking time into your routines in this Episode.
The Value of Reflection for Your Team & Business
How could you support your team to bring reflective practice into their days? Their weeks? Months? Terms?
Whatever time fragment you choose, setting a time for reflective thinking can help your team close down a busy day, week, or month.
This allocated time can empower your team with creative expression, allowing them to close down a loop with a decision or action.
Reflection can also bring more discipline and precision. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it can greatly assist with time management, stress management, dealing with tension, and workplace culture.
Debrief on the holiday programs, on the term, on the month of December. I find it easier to be reflective in small daily or weekly periods.
This could be a wonderful team activity to reflect on those magic moments, massive challenges, and incredible action pieces of the day/week/month/year.
Benefits of Reflective Thinking
What glowing gems come out of a reflective thinking habit?
For starters, you’re able to truly identify and label each and every thought that crosses your mind.
- Witness your thinking patterns
- Check in on some habits (positive, neutral and unhelpful)
- Pinpoint thoughts of sabotage or procrastination
- Recognise areas of optimism
- Examine judgements and beliefs
- Paint a more accurate picture of a particular event or feeling
Every thought you have will come bubbling up to the surface when you take time to reflect. As a result, you’re making them more easily accessible.
When you take a deep dive into your thoughts on a particular event, you’re giving yourself permission to question things. You’re able to extract learnings and identify topics that are meaningful going forward.
Too often in the busy-ness of business we never get to the ends of our thinking.
It’s difficult to reach the edges of a thought without getting distracted or pushing it aside for something else. You’re left with piles of thoughts stacked up in your brain, your head spinning into a downward spiral.
Reflective practice gives you the chance to get to the ends of your thinking.
You’re able to become self-aware, release judgements, allow detailed thinking, get critical, and bring closure.
Now’s the time to think about how you can start making reflective thinking a habit.
Release the expectation that you’re going to have massive breakthroughs. Instead, it’s about granting yourself time to think your thoughts all the way through to the end.
Nurture your thinking, your creativity, and the wonderful asset of that genius brain you have.